Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

December 20, 2007 11:38 ET

The Government of Canada Invests $5 Million to Boost Food Safety

BELLEVILLE, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 20, 2007) - The Government of Canada is contributing $5 million to help establish an animal health and food safety vaccine production facility in Belleville, Ontario, at the Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. campus. The new facility will be the first of its kind in Canada, it will produce a new world-class vaccine for cattle, and it is expected to create up to 135 new jobs.

The announcement was made by Guy Lauzon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and to the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, on behalf of the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board.

"This project is the first to be funded under our Agri-Opportunities program, which our Government launched this year to help good ideas get from the drawing board into the market," said Parliamentary Secretary Lauzon. "This project will not only help ensure the safety of Canadian food and water, and create new jobs here in the Belleville region, but also help farmers to get premium prices for vaccinated cattle by selling their animals in specialized markets."

"This Government is standing up for producers across the country and right here in Prince Edward-Hastings," said local MP Daryl Kramp. "I am proud to be a part of an initiative that means better returns for our local farmers and safe food for Canadians."

The production facility will use an innovative technology to produce a vaccine designed to significantly reduce the levels of Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 bacteria in cattle and their manure. This vaccine will help reduce potential contamination of E.coli in the environment, ground water, and cattle processing plants. This project, funded under Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's (AAFC) Agri-Opportunities program, is also expected to create new niche markets for Canadian cattle producers.

"It's an honour to be the first recipient of funding under the Agri-Opportunities Program," said Graeme McRae, CEO of Bioniche Life Sciences. "It's interesting to note the other "firsts" associated with this project: the E. coli O157:H7 vaccine is the first of its kind anywhere in the world; the vaccine is the first of its kind to be recognized globally as the best new veterinary product for livestock; and the Animal Health and Food Safety Vaccine Manufacturing Centre at Bioniche will be the first of its kind in Canada."

Following completion of this $25 million project (phase one of a larger scale-up), the production facility will have an annual capacity of 40 million doses of vaccine within 24 months. The Belleville facility will strengthen the community's economic base by creating 73 new highly skilled jobs in the region. Further jobs will be created in future phases of scale-up, up to an estimated 135 new jobs in total. These are over and above the existing 100 jobs in the Belleville facility today.

Funding under AAFC's Agri-Opportunities program is provided for projects that can be expected to increase market opportunities for the Canadian agricultural industry across the value chain and generate demand for primary agricultural products.

For more information on the Agri-Opportunities program please visit www.agr.gc.ca (under Programs and Services).


BACKGROUNDER

E.coli O157:H7

E. coli bacteria are normal organisms found in the intestinal tract of all animals. Most strains are non-pathogenic (non-disease causing) to their host. Certain types cause digestive disturbances and, occasionally, other significant diseases. The O157:H7 variant of E. coli is a mutant that has acquired an extremely potent toxin and has been found in the intestines of healthy cattle, deer, goats, and sheep. It can be passed on to humans through contamination of meat, water supplies and environment.

Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. develops, manufactures, and markets livestock vaccines to improve food safety and environmental health. The vaccine is one of the company's lead initiatives. It has undergone an unprecedented level of testing for an animal vaccine and has yielded consistently positive results in feedlot settings, the first target for the E. coli O157:H7 vaccine.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) provides information, research and technology, and policies and programs to achieve security of the food system, health of the environment and innovation for growth.

Agri-Opportunities Program

Agri-Opportunities is a $134 million five-year program that provides funds to accelerate the commercialization of new agricultural products, processes or services to help Canadian farms, businesses and organizations take advantage of new domestic and global markets.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    613-759-7972
    1-866-345-7972
    or
    Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    Todd MacKay
    Director of Communications
    613-759-1059